Through Kurt’s Eyes:

    A Peek Behind the Front Man

    More stories from Laura Rojas


    Courtesy of the Chicago Review Press Inc.

    “Cobain on Cobain” offers a unique insight into the life of the Nirvana front man.

    This is not a story of Kurt Cobain’s life regarding his stardom. This is not his journal or his written words.  This is his recorded words, and those of his bandmates that lay the story of his ultimate demise.

    It is left for the reader to discern how his life began wavering off track through the interviews and transcribed recordings of the reluctant celebrity and legend of Cobain in this vast—and currently the most complete—compilation of edited sound bites, interviews and clips put together by Nick Soulsby.

    Soulsby sifted through hundreds of hours of interviews and transcribed them into one incredible book. Short of being an actual penned memoir, “Cobain on Cobain” delivers on its promise of storytelling as close as possible through Cobain’s own words and a few of his bandmates.

    Some interviews seem innocent, and at first of little importance, until later development proves how the most insignificant answers he gave in an interview could provide insight and understanding into his downfall.

    It was clear that Cobain wasn’t prepared for and never sought the fame that was thrust upon him from his musical career and it inevitably proved more than he could emotionally handle.

    Now while the subject matter is engaging, and it is interesting to read his own words, which at times can be playful and innocent, the book isn’t a smooth read.

    A good chunk of the book is simply transcribed interviews, which read like a conversation—an unorganized choppy conversation. Not like what we’re used to reading in novels, but a real conversation with meaningless fillers that don’t quite add to the story.

    Imagine rereading days worth of texts between yourself and a friend. No matter how good the writing is, a texted conversation will not read like Shakespeare.

    Now imagine a conversation recorded between four or more people and think of the disorganization of each person’s answer to a reporter/journalist’s questions. Not pretty.

    It reads like a documentary.

    But if you love watching documentaries, hold your horses, reading one is not the same thing. One cannot simply hang on every word like you would as you do reading a mystery novel.

    All warnings aside, I must say that this is a wonderful book to read and it gives readers insight into the band and its lead singer.

    In an interview with Gilbert Blecklen on November 10, 1991, Cobain sounded hopeful while dreaming of possibilities for his future, or at least so it appeared. He was asked if he would go mad without music.

    “I don’t know if this is something I’ll do forever. There are so many other things that I enjoy just as much. Sometimes I just want to hang out with my friends. I also really like writing, and maybe I’ll even act in a movie one day,” Cobain said. “But while that’s the way I feel at the moment, I’m sure after two months off, I’d probably then get to the point where I wanted to make music again.”

    What makes reading that quote painful is the knowledge that he committed suicide three years later in 1994.

    All in all, I would certainly recommend this book to any Nirvana fan or even any rock fan out there unfamiliar with the band. Not only for the opportunity to read his own words, but also to see how this band, and particularly this man, touched those he came in contact with.

    Many interviewers felt honored to have been given the opportunity to meet him during his brief fame. The only exceptions being the interviewers, which the band pissed off since they were not particularly fans of doing interviews. But for the most part, I believe they left a fairly good impression.

    This book also holds a few laughs as readers get a chance to see the band’s playful, and at times even childlike, humor show in some of their interviews. There’s a little of everything. I’m sure this is a book many will enjoy.